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The Eating Coach

Aug 11, 2021

Today I present a completely biased review of Whole 30. Biased? I hear you cry. Isn't that meant to be UNbiased?

Nope. I am completely skewed in favour of recovering binge eaters finding a programme that empowers them, that helps them start to trust themselves again. One that allows them to proceed at a doable pace, and build confidence as they go. This diet in sheep's clothing is not it. Read on (or listen to the podcast episode below) for more information and what the alternative looks like.

What Is Great About Whole 30
It increases awareness about all the fake natural sweeteners out there, such as agave nectar
A lack of focus on measurements, although it seems to be very happy with before and after photos, which are problematic.

Problems With Whole 30
#1 It tries to do too much, too fast.
This is not just a misguided issue that is borne ourt of well-intentioned ambition. It is a cold, hard profit-driven strategy that leverages compulsive eaters desire to escape themselves via a temporary transformation.
It is very, very hard to give up a multiplicity of foods that you are addicted to all at once and make that change sustainable. I think the clue is in the name. No wonder it’s not called Whole Forever.

#2 it Demonises Certain Nutritious Foods That Actually Reduce Compulsive Urges and Cravings
Quinoa. Lentils. Brown rice. Ah yes, how silly of me not to see that they need to placed in the nutritional sin bin with high fructose corn syrup, candy cigarettes and deep fried everything. Really? Really?

#3 Fruit Juice Is Permitted
That’s right, kids. Lentil soup is verboten, but something with more fructose than Coke is OK. Listen to the podcast episode above to hear what Dr Robert Lustig has to say about fruit juice and type two diabetes.

#4 It’s Based on Original Sin
This criticism is something that Whole 30 shares with just about every health fad and diet out there. You are broken the deprivation-fuelled edicts silently imply. You can chase that bad guilt and shame away with this nutritional hairshirt. Escape yourself in only 30 misery filled days! That is one whole month of your life you’re never getting back.
If you’ve been using food to manage your life, trying to leverage guilt over past mistakes is not only unkind to yourself…it’s downright impractical.

#5 It Denies Pleasure
Just because you may have eaten chaotically and got extreme and fake pleasure from food does NOT mean that misery and deprivation is the counterbalance. Pleasure is a core human drive, and if you deny it, your primitive Cavebrain will take over and make sure you get it via more binge eating and other unhelpful knee jerk responses. Bye bye Whole 30.

#6 It Sets Up a Parent-Child Dynamic With Food
Listen to the podcast episode to understand exactly what I mean here.

Alternatives To Whole 30
If nonsense like this programme is not the answer to your food compulsion, then what is? Here are some pointers.

*Experimentation – which gives you data and is impossible to fail at. In the episode, I give a concrete example of how this plays out.

*Learning to relax enough around food to get real (not fake) pleasure from real food


*Being present with food, instead of using it as an escape route from self

More on coaching with Harriet

Freedom From Sugar programme

Whole 30 Rules

Fat Chance is by Dr Robert Lustig

Louise Breaks The Binge-Deprivation Cycle episode

Email me about your emotional eating. tell me about yourlast emotional eating episode 

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